The post-movie seasons. Some fans didn't mind the more vulgar and violent themes of those seasons, while others felt that the show fell into Seasonal Rot because of it.
Similarly, the renamed seasonsnote Aqua Unit Patrol Squad (season 8), Aqua Something You Know Whatever (season 9), Aqua TV Show Show (season 10), and Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever (season 11). Did they Win Back the Crowd, or were they still part of the show's declining quality?
To some, the renamed seasons were actually where the rot STARTED.
Carl: There's something I need to say, ya know. Ever since my son was...never conceived because I never had consensual sex without money involved, I always sorta looked at you as...well, kind've a thing that I could, ya know, live next to in accordance with state law.
Meatwad: Oh, that's sweet. You're trying to say that you love me!
Carl: Eh eh eh, let's not get ahead of ourselves here - (puts on Super Bowl glove) WHO ARE YOU TAKIN' TO THAT FRIGGIN' SUPERBOWL!
Designated Monkey: Master Shake is both a Designated Monkey and a Karma Houdini. When Shake is actively being a jerk and hurting people, he tends to get away with it. But his biggest Humiliation Congas come from his well-intentioned (for him, anyway) stupidity and/or him being an unrelated victim. The most infamous example being in the episode "Bookie".
This is especially demonstrated in the last season where Shake is largely Out of Focus but will still be brutally hurt before the episode ends.
Sure, Carl's rude, obnoxious, and hygienically-challenged, but the sheer amount of shit his neighbors put him through kinda makes one feel sorry for him.
It's debatable but Frylock could also qualify. Though he's usually portrayed as a decent guy, he can be pretty bitter but considering that he has to put up with everybody else's stupidity all the time (especially Master Shake's), it's not hard to see why.
Mooninites tried to invoke it in "Moonahujana", didn't work on Frylock though.
You look at him and tell me there's a God◊ note When Frylock wants to join a church group this was Shake's reaction, commenting on Meatwad's appearance to insinuate that God doesn't exist. The image and quote are often used to mock or express horror at something.
MST3K Mantra: The song "Cut You Up With a Linoleum Knife" in the movie's opening states "if you don't understand, you should not be here".
A forgivable example, but the bees in "Sweet C" are worker bees, and therefore, should've all been female. There go chances of seeing Carl being a Harem Seeker.
Another somewhat forgivable example is the Grand Finale. While good, the only characters to appear are the Aqua Teens, Carl, Carl's friend Dominic, and Meatwad's family. Who else wanted to see characters who were Put on a Bus (such as the Mooninites, the Plutonians, the Cybernetic Ghost, and Dr. Weird) come Back for the Finale? Then again, "Greatest Story" has a lot of those characters (namely, the Mooninites, Plutonians, Markula, Rabbot, Handbanana, Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past, Mothmonsterman, Zucotti Manicotti, and Romulux) as Shake's 'acolytes'.
Ugly Cute: Meatwad, especially when he acts like a little kid.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: "The Greatest Story Ever Told" as its name implies is filled with religious parodies. It was released on Adult Swim's website 3 days after the show's supposed cancellation, mirroring the death and resurrection of Jesus.